CEBU CITY – University of San Carlos is in a title decider for the second straight season, and the Warriors are eager to make it a different ending this time.
The Warriors try to bag their first title when they take on the University of the Visayas Lancers on Tuesday in Game Five of the Cesafi finals at the Cebu Coliseum.
Six players are back from last season’s squad, which bowed to Southwestern University in the title match, and guards Kiefer Lim and Ian Tagapan are eager to redeem themselves after flaming out when it mattered most.
Lim went scoreless while Tagapan ended up with just three points in the blowout loss to the Cobras.
The Warriors had a chance to clinch the title but bowed, 52-60, loss in Game Four that set the stage for the sudden-death game. The Warriors must now find a way to regroup and get back on track to ably compete for Cebu collegiate basketball’s biggest prize.
“I need to step up and lead the team to stay together and keep them fighting no matter what circumstance comes for us to win this time. We've been given so many opportunities and I think we have to learn how to not take it for granted especially this Game Five,” said Lim.
Tagapan on the other hand, is hoping that he and the rest of the squad would be able to handle the pressure especially after turning the ball over a whopping 39 times in last year’s Game Five loss.
“The thing that will make the difference in Game Five is which team will be able to handle pressure better. I really think that the team that will work together and set its sights on the target will eventually triumph. We just have to relax and trust each other. This would spell the difference between winning and losing,” shared the fiery guard whose play has elevated to new heights this season after playing a bit role under former head coach Junthy Valenzuela last season.
Having players who have been there before will also help the Warriors keep their composure, said Lim.
Charles Pepito, Gio Laguyo, Nico Magat and Cameroonian Shooster Olago also played in last year’s decider.
“Our team has really grown into a family through time and I think that's what'll make us fight harder, Also the experience last year would make us know what to do this time and not panic and collapse just like what happened last year,” said Lim.